Only two more episodes left, and we didn't really move the plot forward at all this week. That wouldn't be such a problem if the season was more than thirteen episodes and/or there was much chance of a second season, but... well, this is Fox and the beginning of this series was very rough. I'll still keep hoping, though.
When one of Adelle's friends dies of a seeming heart attack, Adelle has her imprinted into Echo's body. The original plan was that the woman was coming back to see her own funeral, but she reveals to Adelle that she thinks she was murdered and wants to find out who did it. She's built up a cover story by mentioning a friend named Julia and having Julia written into her will. Apparently, the woman has a history of having friends that nobody has ever seen and has kept her family at a distance, so everybody seems to buy this cover story.
After the funeral, Echo is shocked to find that her family doesn't really mourn her loss. She is remembered mainly as cold and domineering and there are numerous theories as to who killed her and why.
The son and daughter think that the woman's much younger husband killed her for her money and find it ultimately ironic that he was left the woman's beloved horses and no money. This theory seems to be supported by the husband trying to sell the horses - particularly a recent Derby contender - and leave as soon as possible. Victor is imprinted as a curious horse breeder to explore this angle.
The husband, however, insists that he's selling the horses because he can't stand the reminder of the woman he loved and is leaving because he doesn't belong there. He tells Echo that he suspects the woman's brother, who the woman hadn't seen for years until the day before she died. The husband thinks that the brother asked to borrow money, was rebuffed, and killed her for the inheritance, of which he got one third.
However, the brother tells Echo that the timing was coincidence and that he had just realized that feuding with his sister was ridiculous and had come to make amends. He tells her that he had gotten closure with his sister and feels that he is the lucky one, since the son had never really made peace with his mother about his gambling debts. This, of course, raises the possibility of the son killing her for his third of the inheritance so that he could pay off his debts.
In the meantime, Ballard and Mellie are having problems. Mellie, of course not knowing that she's a sleeper, seems fine, but Ballard can't let it go. He just sulks around the apartment insisting nothing is wrong and glares at Mellie when she's not looking. Finally, he sneaks away a wine glass with Mellie's fingerprints and has his friend at the FBI run them. At first, they get multiple hits with different names but Mellie's face. Suddenly, the screen goes blank and says there are no results, finally convincing Ballard's friend that he's onto something.
When Ballard returns home, Mellie makes a speech about accepting the way things are, offering all she has to give, but saying it's okay if Ballard can't give back. Ballard responds with some rough sex followed by self-loathing in the shower for taking advantage of Mellie's body.
Topher tells New Chief of Security Boyd that he needs the Chief of Security to sign off on the use of an Active for some diagnostic tests. Boyd signs off, but the "diagnostic test" seems to be imprinting Sierra with Topher's version of the perfect woman and engaging in a fun day of video games, laser tag, football, and chess. It's not very clear to me if this is someone who existed before or Topher's creation. Langton brings the situation to Adelle and asks if she wants him to handle it, but she tells him to leave it alone since it only happens once a year while watching a surveilance video of Sierra bringing Topher a birthday cake. Awwwwww.
Anyway, back to the murder mystery. The son, who apparently is also a client of the Dollhouse, finally figures out that his mother has been imprinted into Echo. They have a nice heart-to-heart where he reveals that his debts were far worse than she imagined and he has lost more money than I will see in my entire life. Suddenly, they overhear Echo and the husband arguing about the former Derby contender horse and hide. Victor tells the husband that testing revealed that the horse has been injected with a drug cocktail that could make his heart explode in order to make him appear capable of still racing, though he should be in pasture by now. Echo picks up on the "heart explode" part and deduces that she must have been given the same cocktail, making it seem like she had a heart attack. This makes the husband the obvious suspect for her murder. He goes into a rage over the news that his sale has fallen through and begins hitting things with his shovel, eliciting a scream from Echo.
She and the son run into the house, chased by the husband. Hiding out in her old bedroom, the son has her write a letter in the dead woman's handwriting "predicting" the day and method of her murder and the identity of her murderer. Just as she finishes, she realizes that the husband doesn't know much about horses and wonders aloud how he would have come up with the drug cocktail for the horse or her. The son tries to come up with a slick answer, but finally relents and pulls out a syringe full of the cocktail to kill her....again.
Luckily, the husband busts in with perfect timing. After a struggle, the son is knocked unconscious and the police are called. Before leaving, Echo writes a new letter implicating the son and an amendment to her will (which I'm not sure is legally valid, lacking witnesses or notarization, but evs) cutting her son out and redistributing the inheritance.
And that's really it for this episode. Echo goes back, the woman tells Adelle, goodbye, and then.... wipe.
Next week, Ballard finds the Dollhouse! If this show somehow gets renewed, what can they possibly have for next season?